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Vikings Offensive Scheme Will Be Electric


Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

There is not much to take away from overall team performance in a preseason game. We can use this time to evaluate individual players, but team outcomes are more complex. Nonetheless, one thing we learned is that this new Vikings’ offensive scheme will be electric!

How can we possibly come to this conclusion based on one preseason game? It is difficult for sure, especially when that preseason game did not showcase any of the starting skill players.

Regardless of the lack of starting players in this game, I noticed a couple of things. Here are a few things we learned about the scheme and how it will tear up defenses in 2022.

  1. Puts defensive players in conflict
  2. Opens up the middle of the field for the running game
  3. Attacks zone and man coverage with choice routes

We will need to expand a little bit on each of these items. But first, we have to put it into context. Much of what we saw was players on both sides fighting for a roster spot. So some of this could have been poor play by the Raiders’ defense as opposed to excellent play by the Vikings’ offense.

However, one thing is certain. There were plenty of open receivers and gaping holes in the run game. We need to discuss how awesome that will be when Jefferson, Cook, Thielen, Osborn, and Cousins are on the field together.

Why the new Vikings Offense will be Electric

Vikings WRs Included in National 'Trios Ranking'
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17), wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18), and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

First off, the new scheme seems to emphasize conflict. What does this mean? It means that you typically have two offensive players running routes in similar areas. One of which is “high” and the other “low.”

The defensive player in that zone needs to make a decision. Do they take the high, or do they take the low man? Regardless of which they choose, there should be an open receiver.

There was one play very early in the game that showcased this perfectly. Osborn was on the left side, and Bisi Johnson motioned to the left. At the snap, Bisi ran an under route to the right side of the field, and Osborn ran the same route at about 10 yards.

The linebacker covering the middle of the field or the flat flowed low with Bisi and left Osborn wide open over the middle. Of course, Mannion threw it to Bisi. However, the point here is that there was a wide-open receiver, and you would hope Cousins hits Osborn.

Next, choice routes were used tremendously all game. Basically, the receivers have options built into every play. If they recognize the defense is playing zone or man or a specific technique, then they run the route that attacks the weakness.

Nwangwu actually had a couple of these and one of which turned out to pick up the first down. Just imagine how awesome these choice routes will be when the starters play. It will be magnificent.

The Run Game Looks Impressive

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, in perspective, the second and third team for the Raiders was on the field. So take all of this with a grain of salt. But boy, oh boy, was the run game fun to watch.

There was not much bouncing outside and attacking the edges like we have been accustomed to seeing over the last couple of years. No, instead, we see a lot of big runs coming from between the tackles. This is what we should expect to see more of when the regular season starts.

The Vikings will likely run out of 11 personnel more frequently. This will lighten the box and give Cook more space up the middle. We should be ecstatic with that option. With the way Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu lit up the run game, getting Cook into that position will be amazing.

I cannot overemphasize that this is the preseason, and we must temper our expectations. Regardless, we can still see this scheme’s potential, especially when we get the Vikings’ starting skill players on the field.

Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3

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